NFC Wildcard Preview: Can the 49ers beat the Cowboys?

The NFC Wildcard week is undeniably entertaining

By Chinmay Kulkarni

That was a wild week 18 finish to close out the regular season. The bittersweet crossroads of not watching Scott Hanson on my TV screen and addictive playoff football have arrived. Let’s look at some of the NFC teams and make some predictions.

Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Since the beginning of the season, the recipe to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has been to effectively throw the ball deep to expose their ailing secondary. As the singular worst passing defenses in the league by opponent passes/game, they’ve devoted their efforts to stopping all semblance of a running attack in a very ground-heavy NFC south. The Bucs have a top-3 rushing defense and hold their opponents to the least percentage of running plays per game. Does this sound like a huge problem for the Eagles – YES! The Eagles are the premier running team in the league, using the ground game 51% of the time – the most in the entire league. If the Eagles even stand a semblance of a chance to keep pace with the Bucs’ second-best scoring offense, Jalen Hurts MUST throw the ball. This game will likely be won in the first half, in what should be expected as a game where Tampa scores with ease, and the Eagles struggle to gain momentum on the road.

San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys have been a weird team this year. I compare ‘America’s team’ to the stock market – when the Cowboys stock gets too high, the team struggles mightily – especially in matchups following big wins (i.e.  against the Cards after thumping Washington). Everyone thought the Cowboys were Superbowl contenders after beating the WFT, and their recent 50-point performance against the Eagles is extremely reminiscent of a huge upcoming letdown spot. Meanwhile, the Niners have done nothing but exceed all sorts of expectations, being left for dead when they lost their entire backfield, then left for dead when Trey Lance played around the midseason, and then left for dead for a third time when Jimmy G broke his hand. To the dismay of Saints fans everywhere, San Francisco is in the playoffs, with a strong running game, and top-5 defense with respect to limiting total yards. The Cowboys on the other hand, have the most potent offense in the league, and a rested defense with Trevon Diggs and Micah Parsons coming off week 18 rest weeks. The Cowboys should be projected to win this game, but as one of the grittiest teams in the league, don’t be surprised if the Niners keep scoring close to the final whistle.

Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams

The greatest storylines of these division rivals stand on the Cardinals’ sidelines, with the return of J.J. Watt and DeAndre Hopkins (not confirmed but projected to play in the post-season). While key additions to spreading the ball around come for Kyler Murray’s clunky offense, the Cardinals have everything to play for with respect to post-season success with a young quarterback. Arizona prides themselves on their road warrior status, only losing a Week 15 matchup against Detroit in an opponent’s stadium. The Rams on the other side have been the ‘on paper’ darlings. If football were played on a spreadsheet, the Rams would win the Superbowl nine times out of ten. Unfortunately, this is not the case, as the best finesse-team in the league has head scratching losses while securing a top-10 offense and defense by simply throwing draft picks into the trash. Much of the Rams’ success will likely depend on play calling and interceptions thrown by Matt Stafford. Therefore, this game will truly show whether the Rams can grit out playoff wins and stop getting in their own way, for their Superbowl or bust season may end abruptly if they continue playing poorly. I still predict an upset victory from Arizona.

Green Bay Packers (Bye)

Despite the drama in Green Bay, the Packers continue to exert their iron fist on the rest of the NFC with the power of weather. The narrative of ‘going up to Lambeau for a playoff game’ has been beaten since the times of Favre. It’s truly difficult to see success from teams going up to Green Bay and even producing in the frozen tundra. Watching indoor teams like the Rams and the Cardinals seems wrong and borderline torturous for snowbird destination that plays and practices in nice weather. Supremely physical teams like the Niners and Buccaneers seem to stand a better chance in the cold, while the true wild card of Philadelphia are built for the cold if they beat the Bucs in the first round. The Packers maintain one of the best offenses in the league, having a top 10 passing offense and middle of the pack rushing attack. While the defense has been inconsistent, they still hold opponents to some of the least number of points in the league. Going into the playoffs on a loss to the divisional Lions isn’t ideal, but as a very talented team, they own everything for a deep playoffs push.

3 reasons why the Buccaneers can be Super Bowl champions again

Tom Brady and the Buccaneers can repeat as Super Bowl champions

By: Jake Rajala

The Tompa Bay Buccaneers got smacked by the New Orleans Saints in their second regular-season matchup last season by a score of 38-3. Of course, the blood-thirsty Tom Brady-led Buccaneers offense would put the pedal to the medal, lose only two regular-season games after, roll through the playoffs (with a playoff win against the Saints), and ultimately obtain a Lombardi trophy. 

In 2021, it’s well noted that the Buccaneers got throttled by the underdog divisional Saints squad once again. With that being said, I believe the story of 2020 post the second Saints defeat could rewrite itself once again in this near 2022 season. I’m not sure if the Buccaneers will lose two regular-season games as they did last year after their second defeat against the Saints, but they certainly hold lots of talent to win another Super Bowl in back-to-back seasons. Here are three reasons why I believe TB12 and his golden arm could raise an eighth Lombardi! 

  • Front seven 

There’s no denying the Buccaneers offense, but it’s their defense that crippled its opponents in last year’s playoff gauntlet. Once again, I believe their secret sauce rests with their ferocious pass rush to complement its offense. To obtain the gold, the Bucs have the tools to do it. The Bucs nightmare defense can affect not only NFC QBs but Patrick Mahomes with just their front four DL. 

Shaq Barrett should get back just in time for playoffs, per NBC Sports. We witnessed the Saints pass rush gain an energy level against the Bucs OL in Week 15. Expect a healthy Barrett, non-injured JPP, and a battle-tested Joe Tryon to turn up the heat and make life miserable for opposing QBs in the NFC ….. Like Aaron Rodgers 

  • Dominance over Green Bay Packers

I believe two out of these three squads: the Buccaneers, the Rams, and the Packers will be squaring off in the NFC Championship. It wouldn’t be a surprise or more poetic if the two biggest MVP candidates at the QB position once again face-off in the biggest NFC dance. With that being said, there’s not a high-end team that the Buccaneers should more feel comfortable playing than the Green Bay Packers. 

The Bucs beat the Pack 38-10 in the 2020 regular season and 31-26 in last year’s playoffs.

  • Healthy Leonard Fournette

They call Leonard Fournette “Playoff Lenny” for a special reason. Playoff Lenny was a pleasant surprise and dynamite for the Bucs last regular season. If Fournette doesn’t run wild, the play-action game is far less efficient for the then 43-year-old QB, and the lack of positive run game would allow defenses to tee off on the MVP QB. 

Fournette was the second Bucs weapon to suffer a brutal injury against the Saints, but it’s well documented how the bowling ball RB will be back for the playoffs. A fresh Fournette could be extra dangerous against NFC foes and the stingy Aaron Donald – led LA Rams run defense if they meet up. 

Cooper Kupp deserves to be the MVP favorite: here’s why

Rams WR Cooper Kupp should be the MVP favorite

By: Jake Rajala

The NFL MVP race is coming to a close as the end of the 2021 – 2022 regular season approaches. There are a string of quarterbacks who currently make a serious case for the most valuable player award. Signal callers like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Matthew Stafford have ousted career (or near career) seasons of production. 

There have also been a few non-QB players pushing for robust MVP consideration. Playmakers like Cooper Kupp (WR) and Jonathan Taylor (RB) have been praised as MVP favorites by a plethora of outlets. Still, there is one honest and clear aspect regarding the MVP race: there is not a consensus favorite. 

With that being said, I believe the leader of the pack is very clear in my point of view. My highlighted player has really been the most dominant this year, yet he garners an unpopular amount of MVP hype. This profile I’m referring to is none other than Rams WR Cooper Kupp. 

Here is why Kupp stands as the MVP favorite and why I foresee the wideout as the ultimate MVP winner.

  • Let’s compare Kupp and Michael Thomas

Is Cooper Kupp the most talented WR in the NFL? The answer is: who cares. Cooper Kupp can be referred to as Wes Welker, or “Wes Welker on steroids”. Nonetheless, Kupp is an elite wideout & he’s showing dominance in many areas of the receiving game. 

Michael Thomas wasn’t talked about as the clear-cut best wideout in football when he won Offensive Player of The Year in 2019. Matter, in fact, Thomas wasn’t even ranked as a Top 3 wideout by countless sources. Yet, Thomas showed off his drive, talent, and consistency

As widely enunciated, Thomas was the second WR ever to win OPOY in 2019 (Jerry Rice being the other). The Saints WR famously broke the single-season reception record with 149 grabs. The reason that Kupp should feel so optimistic is that he’s dominating in the reception category AND numerous other categories. Kupp is nearly on pace to be close to breaking the glorious 16 game reception record claimed by MT – as Kupp is projected to grab 139 catches in a 16 game span. 

We know Kupp could break the very impressive reception record held by Thomas, who played with Drew Brees and Sean Payton. Well, Kupp could do more than be prolific in the reception tallies. The Rams WR could also break the receiving yards record. Kupp could surely be on the verge of breaking Calvin Johnson’s receiving yard record, who holds the impressive record with 1,964 yards. The fifth year pro is on schedule to pick up on astronomical 1,857 receiving yards after 16 contests.

With this being exonerated, Kupp has a very comforting outlook for the remainder of the season, as well. In two out of the next three games, LA plays the Vikings 29th ranked pass defense and the 31st ranked Baltimore pass defense unit. Most importantly, count on McVay getting Kupp to be his second toy to win a league award.

Todd Gurley won OPOY in 2017.

  • Tom Brady’s 9-0 defeat in Week 15 

One of the most underrated factors of Kupp’s recognition for the award has to be QB Tom Brady’s recent showcase of failure. It’s no surprise that Brady is an MVP candidate, especially because he “plays the QB position”. Although, I do believe that the combination of stats and position still deserves to make Brady take a backseat after a historically low single-game performance in Week 15. 

It’s straight-up silly that analysts and people will point out how Brady’s supporting cast was crippled in the game. For one, TB12 didn’t put up a single point for one and a half quarters when they were healthy. Also, Brady decided to run and then fumble the football when the Bucs were in field goal position. Towards the end of the game, Brady made an overaggressive throw while he was on the run, which resulted in a pivotal interception. 

An underappreciated, sad reason for the “GOAT”’s struggles also lies with the fact that the Bucs controlled the time of possession in ¾ quarters against the Taysom Hill, non-Sean Payton-led, abysmal team. The Saints defense had very little rest and Brady still failed to complete a successful, well-balanced drive to put a mere three points. 

  • Jonathan Taylor is a step behind MVP worthy 

I confidently believe that Kupp, Brady, and Taylor are the top 3 favorites for the MVP award. Of course, I feel that Kupp has the upper hand over Brady. I feel that the Buccaneers QB, who still has godly numbers, realistically deserves to come in after the Rams very elite playmaker. With that being said, let’s talk about the semi-late blossomer in Jonathan Taylor.

The Colts RB Jonathan Taylor has helped his team win eight out of their past ten games and he’s been a fantasy football machine. Still, I don’t believe Taylor will do enough to steal the award from a QB or upend the trophy over a historically talented player at a non QB position (hence Cooper Kupp). It doesn’t appear that Taylor, who has 17 rushing touchdowns after 16 weeks, will come close to breaking the single-season rushing touchdown record held by LaDainian Tomlinson (26).

The Colts halfback has been undeniably efficient as he’s been Top 3 in YPC throughout the vast majority of the season. Taylor’s downfall might be that he hasn’t been fed the ball enough. Taylor has still been unearthly impressive with his TD count and all-purpose yard count, but it also seems all but impossible for him to join the 2k (or 1,800) rushing yard mark in a 16 game span (1,626). The sure-fire All-Pro RB has been the top at his position and a gifted player, but it will require a lot of highlights in the next two games for JT to be a top two, or clear-cut favorite for the award.

Let’s Relax About QB Mac Jones

Don’t sleep on QB Mac Jones

By: Jason Willis

On the Week 5 edition of ESPN’s NFL Primetime Booger McFarland said “Mac Jones is playing the position as well as you can ask a rookie too.” Ask many around the NFL and you will likely hear similar comments. If you discuss the matter with Patriots fans you will quickly forget if you’re talking about Mac Jones or Joe Montana in his prime. At one point he was even the betting favorite to win Rookie of the Year. However, let’s take a step back.

When Mac Jones was selected out of Alabama in the first round of last year’s NFL Draft, he was the fifth quarterback selected. Going to the New England Patriots with the fifteenth overall pick, this looked to be a great landing spot for a passer with much to prove. Simply, he was almost never tested at Alabama. His team was the most talented in the country by a long shot and as such things came easy for them. 6/11 offensive starters are playing in the NFL right now and more will follow come next year’s draft. So while he threw 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns, and just four interceptions, he very rarely faced adversity.

Of course, this is not the end all be all. Mac Jones has always has uncanny accuracy and ball placement. Even if the guys he was throwing to at Alabama were wide open most times, Jones always threw an easily catchable ball in the perfect spot. My worries with Jones stemmed from his ability to adjust to NFL speed. Could he make NFL throws into tight coverage? How would he respond to pressure? Would he have the confidence to continue throwing down the field? With these worries, I gave Mac Jones a third-round grade. My hope was that he could sit on the bench initially as he adjusted to the game at the NFL level. This looked like it may happen as the Patriots once had Cam Newton on the roster. However, following a strong pre-season from Mac Jones, Newton was released.

With the starting job now Jones’ to lose, the Patriots and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels wasted no time. Early on it was obvious that they would not be limiting the playbook for the youngster. Instead, the playcalling would be very similar to what was ran when Tom Brady was there. Lots of mesh, slant/flat and drive concepts with shots off of play-action. Throwing all of this at him so early in his career is certainly a bold move.

The biggest weaknesses for Mac Jones at this point is his timid play style. He simply does not take the chances needed from a starting NFL quarterback. The causes for this are likely numerous. First off, he is slow to process like most rookie quarterbacks. Despite playing SEC football, the NFL is a much faster, more complicated game and it takes all rookies time to adjust. This slow processor limits his ability to attack defenses however because even when receivers pop open, Jones is too late to see it. The other reason for this is his limited arm talent. He simply does not have high-level arm talent to stretch the field or throw the ball to the opposite sideline. This of course is most worrisome in his development. He can get acclimated to the NFL game sure, but can he ever overcome his physical limitations?

This timidness handicaps the entire offense as defenses are now going to force Jones to beat them over the top and to the sideline. Opposing teams will let him have the three-yard dump-offs if they know he won’t try and take them deep. Against the Houston Texans last week, Mac Jones attempted just two passes over twenty yards. With the exception of the Saints game in week three, he has just eight of these passes. The Saints game stands out as a total anomaly but also offers some hope. In that game alone he threw the ball 20+ yards twelve times but had just one completion. Currently, he is 28th in the NFL in yards per attempt.

Not many took Mac Jones seriously as an NFL prospect. As such the bar was set low so even meeting expectations has created some excitement. Alas, we must still be honest. Sam Monson at PFF put it very well. While a three-year-old tying his own shoes is impressive, at some point it is going to become expected. That is where we are now with Mac Jones. He currently has 1,243 yards, five touchdowns, and five interceptions. Even though he hasn’t had the ugly games similar to Zach Wilson’s four-interception game or the ugly passes like Trevor Lawrence’s flea-flicker, it’s because he’s not even trying to create big plays. Big plays are not the only thing lacking, however, as Jones does not routinely test tight windows. Much of this can likely be attributed to the fact that he never had to do so in college. If Jones would show the willingness to attempt these throws more often like Wilson and Lawrence, it would go a long way towards feeling comfortable about his NFL future.

Thus far, Mac Jones is playing timid, albeit, safe football. Simply, he looks like a rookie quarterback and that is okay. However, as sports media and fans, the anointment of him as seemingly the best rookie quarterback should stop. Is the book closed on Mac Jones’s career after five games? Of course not, but at this point, he has been a below-average/bad quarterback on a below-average/bad team.

Is Robert Gronkowski the best TE of all time?

Who is the best TE of all time?

By: Jake Rajala

When Tom Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2020 offseason, he made sure to bring an old friend with him on a “damned fool idealistic crusade”. The ageless Brady brought along his former stud tight end Rob Gronkowski — also known as Gronk. The new Buccaneers TE was on a mission to not only shake off the rust from missing a year (retired), but he was out to prove he could accomplish more great feats in his career. 

The old Pats TE that routinely torched opposing defenses with Brady by his side strolled onto the field in 2020 with hopes of reclaiming the same domination he captured with Brady. In 2020, Gronk recorded a modest 623-yard tally but stood out with an impressive seven touchdown receptions. The Bucs TE didn’t only have a stellar regular season in his first season as a Buccaneer, but he also reeled in another Super Bowl victory. 

After Gronk, Brady, and company squashed the Chiefs, celebrated on boats with champagne, the legendary TE geared up for a strong 2021 season. In Week 1 of the 2021 season, Gronk showed he was still very talented and ready to prove he was just getting in sync with “his second season in the system”. Gronk had a pair of touchdowns in Week 1 in a huge victory over the Dallas Cowboys! He then proceeded to record a couple of touchdowns in Week 2. 

It’s evident that Gronk is still capable of playing at a high level and it’s safe to say we should expect an elite TE performance out of the Bucs TE1 this season. Furthermore, we should expect his 44-year-old QB to continue to have full capacity to utilize his skillset against opposing defenses. 

We know Gronk has a very imposing resume and it appears his outlook is still shiny. With that being said, a couple of intriguing question lies: how much more production can Gronk stack on his resume and can the very elite TE hit the ceiling of being the best tight end to ever step on the field?

I firmly believe Gronk can be an efficient player right up until he stops playing. Well, when will Gronk call it quits (for the second time)? It appears clear that he will retire when his future Hall of Fame QB retires. Realistically, it seems that Brady will most likely just this season and at most one more season after this year. So, I believe that Gronk will play this season and at most the 2022-2023 season. 

It would make sense if Gronk records around 600-800 yards this season, 8-12 touchdowns, and I would expect a 1200-1600 yard, 16-24 touchdown total, over the next two seasons. If Gronk calls it a career after this season, he would keep his third spot in career receiving touchdowns. And if the Bucs TE plays next season, he would likely stay in the same spot, or have a chance to break Gonzalez’s touchdown record by a hair. Gronk currently has 90 receiving touchdowns, while Tony Gonzalez has 111 touchdowns, and Antonio Gates has 116 touchdowns. 

Gronk is currently sixth all-time in receiving yards at the TE position. I wouldn’t expect him to crack the Top 3, even with his best possible outcome. The third-place TE in the yards category is Antonio Gates with 11,841 yards. If Gronk plays next season, he does have a real chance of cracking fourth place by a slim margin, which is held by Shannon Sharpe with 9,961 yards. 

All in all, Gronk will most likely not go down as Top 3 TE in career receiving TDs or receiving yards. However, Gronk will be able to make up for it with his single-season domination and closet of Super Bowl trophies. I believe that Gronk should be seen as a Top 3 TE of all time right now, despite the fact that he isn’t quite an iron man of old age at the position. Gronk still has the record for most receiving touchdowns in a single season by a TE (17) he’s been All-Pro four times in his 11-year career. To top it off, Gronk has a whopping four Super Bowl rings.

I believe that Tony Gonzalez’s production and consistency help him deserve the top spot, while Gronk and Gates are nearly interchangeable at 2 and 3 — especially if Gronk has a slightly above productive season in 2021. Although, if Gronk notches another Super Bowl ring, I believe his efficiency and talent overweigh that of the electric Gonzalez and should help him deserve a consensus number one TE ranking of all-time.

Weeks 1 and Week 2 In The NFL are in the books: Here’s what we learned

Aaron Rodgers flips the switch early in the season

By: Andy Davies

The NFL season is underway and there have already been two weeks completed. There have been some high-scoring games, with 10 of the 32 games so far totaling 55 total points or more.

We already have an idea who will be good and who may not be as good this season. Here are four takeaways from the opening two weekends of action.

Week 1 Is Always An Overreaction

Plenty of people were quick to either write off a team or praise them to death after the opening weekend. This also goes for certain players and coaches. There are 18 teams who are 1-1. This is over half of the league.

People were quick to criticize the Green Bay Packers during their 38-3 loss to the New Orleans Saints and also crown Saints QB Jameis Winston a ‘Comeback Player of the Year’ favorite after his five touchdowns in week one. Fast forward to week two and the Packers came back from a 17-14 deficit to thump the Lions 35-17. Aaron Rodgers threw for 255 yards and four touchdowns. Running back Aaron Jones recorded 3 receiving touchdowns, 1 rushing touchdown and over 100 combined yards. Meanwhile, the Saints lost 26-7 to the Carolina Panthers with Winston throwing for just 111 passing yards and 0 passing touchdowns, with 1 rushing touchdown.

The Miami Dolphins edged a divisional win over the New England Patriots in Week One but were humbled 35-0 by the Buffalo Bills in Week Two, who themselves suffered an opening day defeat. People had Buffalo down as a team in trouble after the 23-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers but they got back to winning ways on Sunday.

The Titans were embarrassed by the Cardinals 38-13 in week one and many questioned Tennessee considering they lost their offensive and defensive coordinators. However, they earned a spirited comeback victory over the Seattle Seahawks in week two. Titans running back Derrick Henry only recorded 58 rushing yards in week one but was a monster in week two. Against the Seahawks, Henry recorded 55 receiving yards as well as 182 yards on the ground and 3 rushing touchdowns.

Is it easy to write off a team after just one loss? With the increasing loss of interest from teams in preseason games where starters don’t often see the field, the opening weekend is now seen by many to be like a preseason game. It is often the case in Week One that those who played starters in preseason will beat the team who didn’t. This is why you should not read too much into opening weekend results, especially with an extra game this season.

The Cardinals and Raiders Can Surprise A Few

Talking of crowning awards too early, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray is already hearing people calling him the early favourite for MVP. It should be a new rule that it is illegal to crown an MVP before week 8 or 9. Last season was a great example of how Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson started it. He was projected to beat all sorts of passing records before both his and Seattle’s seasons slowed down.

These talks of Murray winning the award have come after the impressive start from the Cardinals QB. So far this season, he has thrown for 7 touchdowns and 689 yards as Arizona have a 2-0 record at time of writing.

Murray has been helped by a brilliant offensive cast around him and an excellent defense. Rookie wideout Rondale Moore topped his 68 receiving yards from week one with 114 yards and one touchdown in week two. Both Deandre Hopkins (3) and Christian Kirk (2) have helped themselves to multiple touchdowns. Defensive end Chandler Jones had 5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles in week one and the defense may have slacked off in week two, but still managed two further forced fumbles as well as a sack from linebacker Markus Golden.

Arizona was criticized by myself for their two biggest offseason additions being two players past their best. J.J Watt has been quiet but A.J Green has had his moments, with the touchdown and 44 yards from 3 receptions on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. However, the performance of rookie Rondale Moore and the encouraging start to the season for Isaiah Simmons has fans excited. Arizona has plenty of talent on either side of the ball along with the aforementioned Hopkins, Jones, Murray and safety Budda Baker. They can be a legitimate darkhorse, as can the Las Vegas Raiders, who have won their opening two games against playoff teams from last season, something that has never been done in the history of this Raiders franchise.

Raiders fans know more than anyone else these past few seasons not to get carried away with their team’s performances after how the 2019 and 2020 seasons have ended. However, quarterback Derek Carr seems far more confident in himself this season, as does wide receiver Henry Ruggs who has 159 yards and 1 touchdown so far. This has him projected to record 1,352 yards and 8.5 touchdowns come the end of the regular season.

This would be a massive upgrade on the two touchdowns and 452 yards he posted in 13 games during his 2020 rookie campaign. He seems far more of a factor in this offense. Their defense seems much improved, with multiple forced fumbles and fumble recoveries, 5 sacks and 1 interception across the opening two gameweeks. They have conceded a total of 44 points so far this season, ten less than the 54 they allowed in the opening two weekends of 2020.

Head coach Jon Gruden will be aware of their recent season collapses but he has never seemed more trusting of Carr than he does at the moment.

Expect more big results this campaign from the Cardinals and Raiders.

Tom Brady Is Still Tom Brady

At the age of 44, most athletes are either retired or massively declining in their performances. Not Tom Brady. He looks every bit as good as he did when he was 26 and 32. He shares similar traits with Cristiano Ronaldo in that he takes such good care of himself that he has the body of someone ten to fifteen years his junior. He threw for 5 touchdowns, 276 yards and 0 interceptions during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 48-25 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

Along with Kyler Murray, he is also someone that is being crowned a way too early MVP. With 9 touchdowns, 655 yards and 2 interceptions so far this season, it would not shock many if he goes on to win his fourth MVP. With the talent on this team, he may even go on to win his sixth Super Bowl MVP award and subsequently his eighth ring.

The Joy Of Returning Fans

How good is it to have fans back? During last season, some stadiums allowed limited capacity which was good but there was something missing. We are now seeing stadiums with full capacity and it is for the better. You can once again hear true fan emotion. Fans are also being treated to some excellent games.

The Thursday Night Football season opener between the Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys, fans were met by a 30-29 game that saw 782 combined passing yards. The Monday Night Football in week one saw the Raiders beat the Baltimore Ravens 33-27 in overtime, the first game with fans at the new Allegiant Stadium. The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Cleveland Browns 33-29 and there was almost an insane comeback as the San Francisco 49ers beat the Detroit Lions 41-33.

Week Two followed a similar trajectory. The Washington Football Team beat the New York Giants 30-29 on Thursday Night Football and the Tennessee Titans beat the Seattle Seahawks 33-30 in overtime despite being 24-9 down at half time. The Cardinals beat the Minnesota Vikings 34-33 after a last gasp missed field goal by kicker Greg Joseph, a game that featured excellent commentary by Gus Johnson and former NFL player and Super Bowl winner in Aqib Talib. Week Two also saw the Ravens beat the Chiefs 36-35 as Lamar Jackson finally beat his self proclaimed “kryptonite”.

The NFL is never short of drama and this season appears no different. Television networks repeatedly refer to this campaign as the “biggest season ever”. With an extra game, this has all the makings of being the best ever NFL season.

Is Tom Brady the greatest athlete of all time?

Is Tom Brady the GOAT of all sports?

By: Jake Rajala

The bells have rung in Foxborough Tampa Bay and the NFL 2021 season is officially here. The rejuvenated Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys travel down south to square off against seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It is actually happening — Tom Brady will be lacing up his cleats to start in his 300th regular-season game tonight.

Brady is a staggering 44 years old and he still carries a heavy chip on his shoulder in year two as a Buccaneer. There’s a question that many fans, critics, and even his wife have for the former sixth-round draft pick. The question would of course be, “what else do you have to prove?”. Brady answered that question this offseason and no, it was not because he took it personally that Bruce Arians drafted Kyle Trask this offseason. The Buccaneers starting QB simply said, “I’ve got a little sickness in me that just wants to throw a freakin spiral“.

Brady clearly has a lot of talent left in the tank as he showed that last season with 40 passing touchdowns in the regular season en route to edging out Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and Patrick Mahomes in the postseason. Brady may not be trying to be the best QB of all time, or keep pace with his former head coach Bill Belichick in Siberia New England. The long-lasting NFL QB may be pursuing to be the “GOAT of all sports”. Matter, in fact, Brady really is chasing to be the greatest sports figure of all time. All the way back in 2013, Brady said to his former WR Julian Edelman, “I ain’t going for Joe Montana, I’m going for Michael Jordan“. Heading into the 2021 season, Brady deserves to have that objective on his bulletin board.

So, the interesting question is: where exactly does Tom Brady stand among the greatest athletes of all time and how close is he to surpassing MJ? With that said, I’m going to outline the Top 10 athletes of all time as it stands, while outlining the obstacles ahead of Brady’s path to the top spot.

Let’s begin.

(10. Lawrence Taylor

I love Lawrence Taylor pinned as a Top 10 athlete of all time. He may not be as sexy of a selection as Jerry Rice, or Jim Brown, but he was undoubtedly the best defensive player of all time and he changed the game forever. Bill Belichick was the LBs coach and DC for the NYG when Taylor was in a Giants uniform. The once young Giants defensive coach helped Taylor grow and was able to witness him terrorize opposing gameplans single-handedly. Belichick once stated that “LT” was better than Brady, while Brady had five Super Bowl victories. Whether Belichick was half-serious in his remarks or if Taylor shouldn’t have been seen as a better all-time player then, It should now be a consensus that Brady is ahead of LT, as he’s collected an astounding seven Super Bowl rings.

Taylor has accumulated three Defensive Player of The Year awards, eight All-Pro honors, and he’s even changed multiple positions in the NFL. Teams across the league would change how they utilize the OLB spot because they saw how effective LT was in various spots. LT also literally changed the way NFL teams drafted OL talent. It was virtually impossible to block LT with an average talent at the blindside OL spot, so many teams had to start valuing OL in the draft. LT was a legend in the 1980s and 1990s, but that shouldn’t stop the NFL player from getting the praise he deserves a few decades later.

9) Tiger Woods

The golf legend Tiger Woods is tied for the most PGA tour wins and he is well regarded by many as the best golfer of all time. Woods hasn’t only been magnificent across this century, but he’s had an unimaginable comeback journey and he’s also been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. There have been other very gifted golfers, but Woods has been an elite, consistent force among the most brute of individual competition.

He has been the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year on numerous occasions and Associated Press granted Woods male athlete of the year four times. Woods successfully came back into the league, but now his career is on hold due to the tragic car accident he experienced last February. Woods’s career has been cut too short, but it’s beyond a pleasant scene to see Woods healthy and rehabilitating well. In addition, it’s very encouraging to see that Woods plans on getting healthy and potentially golfing again.

8) Babe Ruth

The legendary MLB hitter enjoyed a long period of dominance and fame. Babe Ruth flashed his dominance for 22 years with the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, and Atlanta Braves. Ruth is undoubtedly the best hitter to play the game and most likely will hold up as the most impressive hitter to see the field. Tim Kurkjian, who’s covered baseball well for ESPN, nicely states Ruth’s 6.90 career percentage is even 82 points higher than Reggie Jackson’s best season.

There is some controversy about whether Ruth or Babe Bonds is the electric MLB player of all time. I would have to stand with Ruth, a player that introduced high performances in pitching, plus he was a versatile athlete. The baseball titan captured a whopping 123 bases in his career.

I would say that’s also worthy to mention that Bonds was prolific largely due to the fact that he used PEDs. It can be stated that many sports greats use PEDs or have cheated in different ways, but it shouldn’t garner him praise over a mount Rushmore-like baseball figure. It should also be said that we’ve seen very elite athletes, who were also very inspirational, such as Lance Armstrong, get almost entirely erased from sports history, for using PEDs. Bonds should be fortunate to just be in the same conversation as Ruth.

7) Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt, also known as the “world’s fastest man”, has crushed nearly every important Olympic sprinting record. Bolt has knocked down the 100-meter record (9.58), the 200-meter record (19.30), and he’s been in on the 4 x 100-meter record. Bolt is an amazing story, a better athlete, and truly a gifted talent in the world of sports. Even though the 35-year-old finished his career in 2017, his records still have held strong since. Bolt was truly a machine, despite the claim that he loved to eat Mcdonalds while training.

I do believe that Bolt is one of the greatest athletes to walk the planet, but I don’t believe he deserves to be in the Top 5. Indeed, he’s broken multiple records on the world stage. However, I believe his records will likely be broken in the near future. His 200 meter one may stand a bit longer, but the 100 one should be first to be erased. It’s such a high stature of performance, but there’s other unearthly success being generated in other sports and over unthought-of periods of time.

6) Serena Williams

Serena Williams is a woman on a mission — a mission not on this planet that is. Williams has registered more grand slam singles titles during her playing days than any man or woman. In addition to that feat, she jointly holds the record for the longest No. 1 ranked female tennis player and she also won a 14 grand slam double with Venus (sister). Sports Illustrated took note of her persistent success by naming her Sportsperson of The Year in 2015.

Williams had a very unfortunate retirement at age 39 in the Wimbledon Open. There’s been speculation that it was unjustifiable for her to be excused, but saying it would have been very questionable for her to be further allowed to compete with the gruesome injury would be an understatement. Serena is undeniably one of the all-time greats, but her wide array of accomplishments and long period of fierce domination put her among the all-time best sports players.

5) Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps has been a fantastic sight of guts and talent for Olympic audiences across the globe. Phelps is blatantly the most decorated Olympian of all time. The lengthy swimmer has accumulated a mountain of gold medals (23) and he’s still planning on being involved as a mentor to fellow Olympians. Phelps, who announced his retirement in 2016, has been very vocal about motivating younger athletes while being supportive of improving mental health on top of that.

Phelps has been reluctant about not coming back and he may not need to if he’s worried another Olympian will surpass his gold medal count. Phelps is first in career gold medals with 23, while the next career gold medalist holds nine gold medals. Yes, you read that right. Four Olympians share a gold medal count of nine, which is a tally that is less than half of Phelps’s gold medal accomplishments.

4) Muhammad Ali

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, his name is Muhammad Ali. The great fighter and incredibly self-confident boxer is a sports icon to the entire world. Ali was the first fighter to win the world heavyweight championships (three times overall), 1974 Sports Illustrated Person of The Year, and he’s well essentially well seen as the best boxer in boxing history.

Outside of boxing, Ali was more vocal about his beliefs than any other sports legend by a wide margin. Ali was very expressive about the issues in racism towards African Americans and he took a strong stance against serving in the war in Vietnam.

Ali was a very fierce fighter and controversial figure, but he deservedly represented as one of the utmost top sports figures in history. Ali’s record has been matched by other boxing figures, but his level of victory came against “much stronger competition”. Ali took down George Foreman and went 2-1 against Joe Frazier in the “fight of the century“.

3) Wayne Gretzky

Wayne Gretzky isn’t known as “Mr. Hockey”, but he is surely the greatest NHL player of all time. Gretzky was named NHL’s most valuable player from 1980-1987 and in 1989. The blazing forward was also the league-leading goal scorer in 1981-1987, 1990-1991, and 1994. To put it this way, Gretzky has the career goal record, career points record, and hat career tricks. Yes, nobody has managed to catch up to the greek god NHL player. The NHL player is just missing a dozen championships victories that other Sports titans hold.

Gretzky has to be in debate for every Top 3 athlete conversation for all of sports history, but it will be hard for him to gain praise as the greatest. There’s a couple of other sports legends that have a bit more of a “sports sickness”, particularly when it comes to postseason matchups.

2) Tom Brady

Tom Brady was once a Michigan Wolverine who ran a 5.28 40 yard dash at the NFL combine. This lengthy QB sat in the NFL Draft green room for numerous days until his name was finally called in the sixth round by the New England Patriots. This sixth-round QB went on to fill in the shoes as the starting QB when former Pats QB Drew Bledsoe horrifically suffered a hemothorax. Then Brady nervously marched onto the field and well, the rest is history…

Brady has been a Madden-like figure at the QB position with unmatched charisma since he started his early career in Foxborough. The Patriots turned Buccaneers QB has won MVP three times, Sports Illustrated Person of The Year once, and he’s won the Super Bowl seven times — two more than the second most individual Super Bowls won (Charles Haley). Well, what more can the reigning Super Bowl MVP literally do? The answer to that is: the former scrawny Michigan prospect can go down as the greatest sports player of all time. More importantly, Brady seems fixated on accomplishing his lifelong goal.

If Brady wins the Super Bowl this season and comes away with eight Super Bowl victories, I believe that he should be placed at the GOAT of all sports. If Brady has a quality season but comes up short of reaching the Super Bowl, I would keep him at the second spot. I would argue that Brady and Gretzky are even close in the GOAT conversation while acknowledging Brady’s ring tally gives him the slight edge. He will need another ring if he wants to aim to conquer the spot ensured by a championship connaisseur AND regular season juggernaut.

1) Michael Jordan

The true GOAT in all of sports history is none other than Michael Jordan. Similar to Brady, MJ has been through his own early life obstacles in sports. The basketball icon was actually cut from his high school team. After finding fuel and motivation to make the HS team, he proceeded to join the University of North Carolina, and then transform into a top-tier professional prospect. In the 1984 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls announced their selection of MJ third overall. Little did Chi-town know that they were given a basketball figure that would become arguably the greatest athlete of all time.

In Jordan’s professional career, he would go onto win rookie of the year, become a five-time NBA MVP, six-time NBA champion, and six-time NBA finals MVP. Jordan was notably a flat-out monster in the post-season by averaging 33.6 PPG. Not only was Jordan a scoring machine in his career, but he is the only player to win the scoring title and DPOTY in the same season. Jordan was simply unstoppable in all phases of the game and he was kryptonite in the postseason. He deserves to be respected right now as the greatest athlete of all time.

Latest NFC South Preview: Who will win the NFC South?

Are the Buccaneers a lock to win the NFC South

By: Andy Davies

Welcome to the NFC South. This is a division that has seen three of its four teams reach a Super Bowl during the past six seasons. The Panthers lost in Super Bowl 50, the Falcons lost in Super Bowl 51 and Tampa Bay go into the season as champions after winning Super Bowl 55.

Can we see a team from the division once again reach the Super Bowl in Los Angeles? Here is a preview of the NFC South.

Atlanta Falcons (2020 Record: 4-12. Missed out on playoffs)

The Atlanta Falcons found new ways to lose last season. They lost four games by four points or less and even lost a game by accidentally scoring a touchdown. They have seen a franchise legend in Julio Jones depart this summer, as he made the move to the Tennessee Titans. This gives Calvin Ridley the chance to show he can become a WR1 for the franchise. The 3,061 yards and 26 touchdowns during his first three seasons in the NFL show that he is very capable.

Atlanta has also drafted Kyle Pitts, who can also be deployed as a wideout due to his excellent receiving skills. He recorded 12 touchdowns and 770 yards in his final college season. With Hayden Hurst likely to be the backup tight end, the Falcons have the facility to deploy Pitts in the receiver position and use Hurst as the tight end. This gives new head coach Arthur Smith flexibility in his new offense. He did an excellent job as the Titans’ offensive coordinator, playing a big role in Ryan Tannehill’s career resurgence. Falcons fans will hope that he can do the same for their quarterback Matt Ryan. Despite his tenth consecutive 4,000 yards plus season, people still have their doubts about how long he has left. Smith can turn the former MVP into a Comeback Player of the Year contender and silence the critics. Running back Mike Davis has joined this summer and will hope that he will be the back they have needed for a couple of years.

Last season, the offense wasn’t the issue. It was the defense. Only three teams allowed more total yards than the Falcons (6,374). They were dead last in passing yards allowed (4,697) but only allowed more rushing yards than five other teams (1,677). They added five defensive players in the draft. Defensive backs Richie Grant, Darren Hall and Avery Williams were taken in the second, fourth and fifth rounds respectively. Defensive linemen Ta’Quon Graham Adetokunbo Ogundeji were both taken in the fifth round.

Two games against each of their division rivals as well as Washington, San Francisco and Buffalo are equally met with winnable games against the Lions, Jaguars, Giants, Jets and Eagles. Can they overcome their recent troubles and get back to the team they once were? Matt Ryan is my tip for the Comeback Player of the Year award and Pitts is a generational tight end talent that can play in multiple positions. Atlanta will make it back to the playoffs to the surprise of many, but they are nowhere near being Super Bowl contenders. A loss in the Wildcard Round is more than likely.

Prediction: 2nd in NFC South

Carolina Panthers (2020 Record: 5-11. Missed out on playoffs)

The Panthers are another interesting team. Their star player in running back Christian McCaffrey missed the majority of last season through injury. He is back this season and has a new QB to work with. Sam Darnold was traded from the New York Jets after a difficult three seasons for the 2018 third overall pick. Going to the Panthers will allow everyone to see whether the Darnold we saw in New York is a bust or if he was hindered by the coaching of Adam Gase.
Wideout Curtis Samuel has left this summer, with the Panthers drafting LSU receiver Terrace Marshall in the draft. He will play alongside Robbie Anderson and DJ Moore, who both recorded over 1,000 yards and combined for 7 touchdowns. Running back Chuba Hubbard impressed in the preseason, particularly the first week where he recorded 80 yards from 7 carries.

The Panthers took all defensive players during the 2020 draft and ended up 18th in total points, passing yards and total yards allowed and were 20th in rushing yards allowed. This is despite the 9 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 21 quarterback hits and 58 total tackles from defensive end Brian Burns. Rookie safety Jeremy Chinn also recorded 117 total tackles, 1 interception in 2020. He also recorded two defensive touchdowns in ten seconds in a game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Their mixed schedule sees them play the Jets, Giants, Eagles and Texans but also the Bills, Washington as well as home and away games against Buccaneers and Saints. Head coach Matt Rhule showed promise in spells during 2020 but despite the young and exciting roster in Carolina, they will find it tough in their division.

Prediction: 4th in NFC South.

New Orleans Saints (2020 Record; 12-4. Lost in Divisional Round)

How do you replace a franchise legend? This is the dilemma facing the Saints going into the 2021 season. Quarterback Drew Brees retired after fifteen seasons with the franchise. Jameis Winston beat out Taysom Hill to the starting role and has the challenge of being the guy after the guy. Despite being the passing yards leader in 2019 with 5,109 yards and 33 touchdowns, he also threw for 30 interceptions. He showed his deep ball in the Saints’ Divisional Round loss to the Buccaneers, albeit his only attempted pass of the game. Can he rebuild his reputation and pick up right where Brees left off?

He is not blessed with the most talented offense to throw the ball to. It is worth considering that the Buccaneers went 7-9 in 2019 just a season before they won the Super Bowl. He had Chris Godwin and Mike Evans to throw to who both had 1,000-yard seasons. He had the same defensive players in Lavonte David, Jason Pierre-Paul, Vita Vea and Shaquil Barrett. Whilst the Saints still have a great defense featuring Cameron Jordan and Kwon Alexander as well as an elite running back in Alvin Kamara, he has no one to throw to. With the loss of Emmanuel Sanders in Free Agency and the status of Michael Thomas unclear, Winston will have to rely on Marquez Callaway, Tre’Quan Smith and Lil’Jordan Humphrey. If he couldn’t stop the interceptions when he had Godwin and Evans, it is hard to not see him repeating this feat with Callaway, Smith and Humphrey.

The Saints will not be able to play their home games in New Orleans due to Hurricane Ida. Their opener against the Green Bay Packers will be played in Jacksonville. They then face the Panthers and New England Patriots. This is a tough start and it doesn’t get any easier, with the Washington Football Team in Week 5, Seattle Seahawks in Week 7, Buccaneers in Weeks 8 and 15, Tennessee Titans in Week 10 and Buffalo Bills in Week 12.

If there is one man who could change Winston’s fortunes, it is head coach Sean Payton. Bruce Arians was Winston’s head coach in the aforementioned 2019 season and he is known as the “quarterback whisperer”. Payton is another individual with the personality and coaching skills to help Winston. Sadly, this experiment may not work out the way New Orleans fans hope.

Prediction: 3rd in NFC South

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2020 Record: 11-5. Won Super Bowl 55)

The Buccaneers became the first team to play a Super Bowl in their stadium, where they beat the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9. Tom Brady, who is highly regarded as the best to ever do it, joined last summer and everything changed. His arrival attracted players such as tight end Rob Gronkowski, running back Leonard Fournette and wide receiver Antonio Brown to join the franchise. The team took a while to gel and were inconsistent for the first half of the season, going 7-5 before winning their remaining eight games and continuing this momentum onto the playoffs and Super Bowl. The challenge they now face is whether they can go back to back. There is a reason that the last time a team retained a Super Bowl was in the 2004 season. It is a hard achievement to accomplish.

The Buccaneers have returned all their starters and added depth, which gives them a great advantage going into the 2021 season. Linebacker Joe Tryon was taken in the first round and receiver Jaelon Darden was taken in the fourth round, someone who could be a big sleeper pick. With a 3-4 scheme led by defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, they have one of the scariest defenses in the NFL. Ndamukong Suh, Vita Vea, and William Gholston make up the front 3, with the 4 consisting of Jason Pierre-Paul, Devin White, Lavonte David, and Shaquil Barrett. Antoine Winfield and Sean Murphy- Bunting also add to a brilliant cornerback room. In 2020, White recorded 140 total tackles, whereas David recorded 117 and Winfield tallied up 94. Pierre-Paul had 9.5 sacks, White had 9 and Barrett had 8. Gholston had the most quarterback hits (20) and Pierre-Paul’s 4 forced fumbles were the most on the team. Cornerback Carlton Davis had 4 interceptions and White had the most tackles for loss (15).

Antonio Brown was involved in a training camp fight and the coaching staff will hope they are not going to see him go back to his old ways. He had a redemption year, causing no trouble and scoring 4 touchdowns in 8 games. He also scored in the Super Bowl win. His receiving teammates also played their part, with Evans maintaining his record of posting over 1,000 yards in every season of his career, including his two seasons in college. He also scored 13 touchdowns. Both Chris Godwin and Gronkowski caught 7 touchdowns, with Godwin recording 840 yards. On the ground game, Ronald Jones ran for 978 yards and 7 touchdowns. Fournette earned the nickname ‘Playoff Lenny’ and notched up 7 touchdowns in 2020.

Due to not winning the NFC South last season, their schedule is fairly favorable. Keep an eye out for their week four clash against the New England Patriots, with Brady and Gronk returning to Foxboro in what should be an emotional affair. Whilst they may face the Los Angeles Rams, Patriots, Washington, Indianapolis Colts, and Buffalo Bills, they also get to play the Chicago Bears, Eagles, Giants, and Jets. Tampa Bay should be aiming to win a second consecutive ring and will be the favorites for the NFC. Purely for how hard it is to retain a Super Bowl, the Buccaneers will reach the Super Bowl but ultimately fall short.

Prediction: 1st in NFC South and Losing Super Bowl 56 Finalists

How the Cowboys defense can make life miserable for Tom Brady

Dallas Cowboys defense needs to play lights out

By: J. A. Massey

Beating a team led by Tom Brady has been a tall order for teams over the last twenty years. Brady has a record of 230-69 in the regular season, and he has been a part of seven Super Bowl winning Championship teams. So what does the Dallas Cowboys defense have to do to give their team a chance to win on Thursday night? The answer is pretty simple… Make his life miserable. Simple to say, not so simple in reality.

              To make his life miserable, you need to put him under pressure and keep him there. This is what it took to beat Brady in New England, but is it the same for beating Brady in Tampa Bay? Let’s look at how he performed under pressure last season. His completion percentage was 71.7% when he wasn’t under pressure in the regular season, but it dropped to 43.8% when pressured. According to Pro Football Focus, he averaged 3.1 fewer yards per attempt under pressure than when he was in a clean pocket, which was the seventh-largest drop in the league last year. He was one of only four quarterbacks to see his QB rating decline by more than 60 points when under pressure. Pretty simple right? Not so fast, because Tampa Bay’s offensive line is excellent, Brady only faced pressure on 17.2% of his throw in 2020. So how is Dallas going to accomplish this feat?

              The answer to that question involves many factors and a lot of things going right on Thursday night. The first factor will be whether the Cowboys can get a consistent push along the interior of the defensive line. Follow that up with the emergence of defensive end Randy Gregory and whether he can show he has finally put it all together, rookie LB Micah Parson, and finally Dan Quinn and his defensive staff. Put that all together, and you might have something cooking.

              The Cowboys had one of the worst interior defensive lines last year, and they made sure to address it during the offseason. They brought in defensive tackles Carlos Watkins and Brent Urban and drafted Osa Odighizuwa in the third round. While starting DT Neville Gallimore is injured and will miss the game; Osa has stood out in his place, providing quality reps and a push from the center of the line. Brent Urban, more known as a run stopper (PFF’s third highest-rated run defender for interior DL in 2020), has surprisingly been pushing the pocket in camp and preseason. Even if they cannot generate direct pressure on Brady in the game, it will be a massive upgrade for the interior defensive line not to be pushed 5-10 yards downfield, allowing the QB a pocket to escape into when the rush comes from the outside.

              Speaking of the rush from that outside, that brings us to Randy Gregory. The Cowboys need him to have an excellent game opposite of DeMarcus Lawrence. Lawrence has consistently been one of the best pass rushers in the NFL (despite what the sack numbers will tell you), and having a consistent rusher opposite of him will only make the both of them better. Gregory has bulked up this year and has been a standout in camp, many calling him the best player all camp for the Cowboys. That needs to translate to the field on Thursday with consistent pressure on Brady all night.

              The next factor will be the Cowboys’ first-round pick in this year’s draft, Micah Parsons, and his unique ability to line up just about anywhere and make a play on the field. So far, we have seen him line up at LB, DE, and even at NT. In each position, he has shown an ability to get to the ball carrier and make a play, whether running with a wide receiver in coverage or beating a double team block to pressure the QB. The Cowboys would be wise to bring Parsons as an extra rusher early and often against Brady.

              Lastly, the addition of Dan Quinn and his defensive staff should be a massive upgrade over the disaster that was Mike Nolan last season. The Cowboys’ defense is noticeably faster on the field, which will be crucial in the game against a skilled Tampa Bay offense. The Cowboys blitzed on 46.4% of pass plays during the preseason, which is a considerable upgrade and would have been the highest blitz rate in the NFL last season. While a higher blitz rate does not guarantee pressure on the QB, a higher rate can mask predictability, something the Cowboys’ defense struggled with the previous season. I don’t expect the blitz rate to continue to be that high, but it does show the Cowboys’ willingness to bring the extra man if they feel it’s warranted this season.

The Cowboys’ defense will have their hands full on Thursday night with Tom Brady and his high-powered offense. On paper, it is a mismatch in favor of Tampa Bay, and most expect Brady to have his way. However, don’t dismiss this Cowboy’s defense just yet due to the shortcomings of last season. If these ingredients mix just right and the stars align, they might be able to put Tom Brady in the pressure cooker and make it a miserable night.

Which all time great quarterback is more likely to win another Super Bowl: Rodgers or Brady?

Is Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers more likely to win another Super Bowl?

By: Jeremy Trottier

Two of the greatest quarterbacks of this generation still remain in the NFL playing to this day, that being Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.  These two quarterbacks have had extremely successful careers from an individual standpoint, and Brady has had an extremely successful team career as well with his seven SuperBowl victories.  With that said, both quarterbacks seem to be in a good position to make a deep playoff run again in the 2021-2022 season.  In this article, I will be going over each team in depth and coming to a conclusion as to which of these two elite QBs has a better chance to get another ring this year.

Tom Brady – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The reigning SuperBowl champions return into next season with all 22 of their starting lineup from last season, which is a huge feat as this is extremely uncommon.  The Bucs are the first team to return all 22 starters to an SB roster during the salary cap era, and the first to do it overall since 1979 when the Pittsburgh Steelers did the same thing and repeated as SB champs the next season.  The chances of this happening with a salary cap now are very, very slim, but the Bucs were able to do it with franchise tagging Chris Godwin and signing the rest of their free agents.

They will also be returning Antonio Brown to the team, who after a solid showing in 2021 with them should be looking to have a breakout season as WR3 on the roster behind Mike Evans and the previously mentioned Chris Godwin.  They will also get Alex Cappa back at offensive tackle from the IR, a full-strength Ali Marpet after his mid-season injuries, O.J. Howard from his almost full season of IR, as well as A.Q. Shipley and Brad Seaton to bolster the O-line off IR.

Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers

One of the main things we see with Rodgers that we do not with Brady is his improvisational skills outside the pocket and even his mobility at times.  This gives the Packers the benefit of not necessarily needing an elite offensive line but more focusing on the defense and weapons around Rodgers.  The Packers have a good secondary, even great with the addition of a true CB2 in Eric Stokes, but their linebacking core and edge rushers are relatively lacking at the moment outside Preston Smith.  De’Vondre Campbell is definitely a quality starter, but nothing elite, and with Kingsley Keke injured at the moment their next option at DE is Tyler Lancaster or Delontae Scott alongside Dean Lowry.

The Packers have more upside from their top receiver, however, as Davante Adams is arguably the top receiver in the NFL currently, top three at the least.  They also brought back Randall Cobb and drafted Amari Rodgers to have alongside Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling.  Robert Tonyan at the TE spot will definitely also be a high-quality starter after his extremely strong efficiency in the red zone last season.


After reviewing the two rosters at their current states before the pre-season, and where they will likely be with their rookie and free-agent additions/losses, I would say the Buccaneers and Tom Brady have the edge to take home another Super Bowl ring.  The main contributing factor is the Packers struggles in the front seven outside Kenny Clark and Preston Smith, while the Bucs have an absolutely amazing front seven and solid secondary. 

If the Packers were able to add at least one more quality linebacker and edge rusher, then they could be significantly closer to the likes of Tampa Bay, but for now it seems that Brady is firmly in the drivers seat in terms of which of the two QBs has better odds to win another ring.

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Baskerville 2 by Anders Noren.

Up ↑